Kolkata: A month after the alleged police attack on protestors at Jadavpur University that spurred a mass student movement, a torch rally was organized here Thursday by the students refusing to backdown from their primary demand of the vice chancellor’s resignation.
Students have been demonstrating to demand removal of Vice Chancellor Abhijit Chakravarti since Sep 17 when university authorities allegedly ordered a police crackdown to break up a peaceful sit-in for an independent investigation into the alleged molestation of a woman student inside a hostel in September.
Sporting black badges and holding aloft blazing torches, students marched outside the varsity campus in south Kolkata in remembrance of the night of Sep 17.
“The early hours of Sep 17 will not be forgotten…the vice chancellor has to resign,” said the slogan-shouting students as they rallied to Golpark in southern part of the city.
In a bid to step up pressure for the resignation of Chakravarti, the agitating students will start a 24-hour hunger strike following the rally.
In addition ,students will be staging a peaceful protest through cultural programmes all night long at the University premises.
Thousands of agitating students and several faculty members led a massive rally Sep 19 in central Kolkata demanding Chakravarty’s removal and decrying police atrocities.
The incident had a ripple effect across the country with students and alumni holding smaller protest marches in cities like Delhi, Mumbai etc.
Through social networks, the agitation brought together Kolkata diaspora and University alumni in solidarity.
However, later in September, in a setback to the student protestors of the University, West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said police had not resorted to cane charges and appealed to the students to stop class boycotts.
The state government instituted a five-member probe panel headed by Calcutta University Vice Chancellor Suranjan Das.
The victim’s father expressed faith in the probe panel and appealed to the protesting students to withdraw their agitation and “return to their classrooms and textbooks”.
West Bengal Governor K.N. Tripathi accused “outsiders” of “creating trouble” at the university, which announced restriction on visitors citing Wednesday’s Calcutta High Court guidelines directing the varsity to restore normalcy on campus.
On Sep 26, two University students were arrested in connection to the alleged molestation of a woman student.
In early October, Chakrabarty was appointed as the full-time VC.